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Grand champion pulls out after fourth successive loss

Grand champion pulls out after fourth successive loss
Japanese grand sumo champion Yokozuna Kisenosato performs the New Year's ring-entering rite at the annual celebration for the New Year at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan January 9, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai   -   Copyright  TORU HANAI(Reuters)
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TOKYO (Reuters) – Sumo wrestler Kisenosato, who holds the highest rank of yokozuna, pulled out of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament on Thursday, a day after suffering his fourth consecutive defeat to start the competition 0-4.

Kisenosato is the first Japan-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to the rank of yokozuna but has struggled with a series of niggling injuries and has completed just one full tournament since being promoted in January 2017.

Following his surprising loss to middle-ranked Tochiozan in Fukuoka on Wednesday, the 32-year-old said he would be pulling out of the meet.

Before completing the September meet in Tokyo with a 10-5 record, Kisenosato had previously pulled out of all or part of eight successive tournaments.

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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